Many visitors to South Dakota make Mount Rushmore their one and only stop. However, they’re missing out on quaint towns, charming lake communities, and bustling cities. South Dakota is a gem of the Midwest. Book a stay at one of many incredible South Dakota vacation rentals for an unforgettable weekend trip. Check out these eight getaway locations tucked away in South Dakota.
1. Sioux Falls
Enjoy a weekend of cultural and outdoor activities with a visit to Sioux Falls. Located on the Big Sioux River, the city offers scenic beauty at the Falls Park. At this city park, you get a great view of the waterfalls on the river. Take a bike with you or put on your walking shoes to enjoy the park’s 19 miles of trails. In the winter months, bring your ski equipment and head over to Great Bear Recreational Park for some skiing. Take a tour of the USS South Dakota Battleship Museum to see some of the actual pieces of this ship and learn about the conflicts it participated in and the men who served aboard it.
Soak in the Midwest charm in Aberdeen. Your kids will squeal in delight with a visit to Storybook Land with its fun activities centered around their favorite nursery rhythms. They can slide down Jill’s hill and pet the small barn animals at Old McDonald’s Farm. Inside this attractions sit the Land of Oz. When you visit Dorthy’s home, you can sign up for the tornado experience that simulates the high winds and lightning. Make sure to the visit the Hagerty and Lloyd Historic District with its quaint buildings, eclectic shops, and good eats. In the heat of the summer, Aberdeen Aquatic Center is the place to cool off with its selection of slides and pools.
Learn more about farming and the agricultural industry with a weekend in Mitchell. After dropping your stuff off at your vacation rental, your next stop is the Corn Palace. This is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and teaches you more about growing corn and the crop itself. As long as 11,000 years ago, Native Americans were growing corn in this area, and you can learn more about their struggles and successes at the Prehistoric Indian Village. For historic building and the slower pace of life you’ve been craving, check out Main Street. Tickled Pink and Moody’s Western Wear are just two of must-stop in shops in the historic district.
Yankton sits on the banks of Missouri River and has a rich history that you can glean today with the building and homes in town. Stop by the town’s visitors center for a map of the historic homes and the route for a self-guided tour. If the weather is nice, stretch your legs and enjoy it as a walking tour. Walk across the iconic Meridian Bridge for great views of the town and the Missouri River. Enjoy amazing lake views during dinner at The Landing. If the weather is nice, ask for a table out on the patio. If you’d rather eat back at your vacation rental, grab a pizza at Charlie’s Pizza House.
In days gone by, South Dakota and Deadwood were part of the Wild West with gunfights and prospectors looking for gold, and you can experience some of that with a weekend in town. As part of the tour of downtown Deadwood, you walk along the same roads that Calamity Jane once traversed. The town features a Main Street Historic Street Show that includes a shootout between the good guys and bad guys. In the winter months, explore the back roads with a rental from Black Hills Off-Road Rentals, and you can zoom along the snow in places that your car can’t go.
As the capital city of South Dakota, Pierre has a lot of historical buildings and trendy places to grab a bite to eat. Start your visit with a tour of the state capitol building to see where laws are made. Learn more about the town’s history as a gold rush city during the 1800s at the Cultural Heritage Center. The SD Discovery Center bills itself as a science playground, and your kids are sure to agree with that. The center has several permanent exhibits, including a towering tree house and the chance to dig up a fossil, along with a constantly changing variety of temporary activities.
7. Rapid City
Rapid City provides you a central location when your weekend plans include seeing Mount Rushmore and the Badlands National Park. After you’ve seen the faces of our past presidents and enjoyed a little hiking, hop on the City View Trolley to learn more about the city and to decide what you want to do next. The Rapid City Historic District Tour is a great way to learn more about the city’s history, see the historic buildings, and take photos of most of the life-sized sculptures of past American presidents. The WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort offers a day of fun, sliding down towering slides, shooting water cannons at siblings, and relaxing in the lazy river.
Custer is a small town where your family can enjoy a weekend of hiking, rock climbing, caving, and soaking up the fresh air. Visit the nearby Jewel Cave National Monument with the world’s third-largest cave network. Stop at the visitors center to sign up for one of the three tours based on your level of fitness. For the daredevils in your group, sign them up for the Wild Caving Tour that takes them off the paved walkway and into some tight spots. After a day of hiking, stop by the Black Hills Burger and Bun Co for dinner.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing South Dakota vacation rentals on Tripping.com.